All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
I saw both a new piece of commentary today in The Age
http://www.theage.com.au/comment/clampi ... 30hhb.html
and then also found an older article from October that was very caravan/grey nomad-focussed:
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/unhap ... 2w0wf.html
A bit of a joke really. To collect such fees for "free" camping areas would take a huge increase in NP manpower, something that this government is never going to do. They cannot even manage to run an effective fee collection system for the current paid camping areas so how will they ever catch up with and collect fees from the thousands of basic campsites..... and then what about all the bushwalkers and cycle tourists who camp in random locations, away from any campsite of any sort? It's a joke.
Last September I camped for a couple of nights in the Grampians NP. One night was 'dispersed camping' - we just picked a spot to pitch our tent just off a forest road. The other night was at a formal camping area (Smiths Mill). On arrival we discovered that we could pay the camping fee at the Brambuk Information Centre - 15kms away and down a 500m descent - "Yeah, sure thing, on my bike ". Otherwise we could ring a number to pay by phone (of course you'll need a credit card). But there is no mobile phone reception here at all.
No ranger came through the campsite during the evening.
Free-market 'wacko' principles gone mad
Dr Napthine should stick to being a veterinarian rather than politics...prices for paid camping have already increased, private businesses being introduced to as well...
The introduction of fees (and caretakers) to what were previously free camping sites has been occurring over here in WA quietly in recent years, no articles in newspapers. We also had a law that made free camping illegal within 16km of a caravan park, as much about protecting private campground businesses as controlling the homeless. That's state law, some local shires also limit camping a bit further, to registered caravan park grounds only.
I would have thought that the opportunity for Victoria to make money from the Grey Nomad boom had passed, there simply isn't so many on the roads anymore. Petrol prices and the GFC killed off a lot of the adventure and frankly a few are probably in nursing homes by now.
In WA its similar and I'm starting to find much of it offensive.
Caretakers will take the prime spot and collect fees, while at the same time making a qualified ranger redundant. Do these people actually have any training in firefighting, or bush 1st aid if required. The attendance of caretakers only happens in the peak season and the rest of the year becomes empty.
I live near the Stirling ranges and have for many years just driven up to the lookout past the collection box. To pay over %30 of my wage to tax, and then also have to contribute so I can access a public road?
What if it was like in Sri Lanka or India, where foreigners would pay well over the local fees. Unemployed and pensioners receive a discount so why not.
And the no camping within 16km of a caravan park. I would suspect a caravan owner erecting the signs. Who would actually enforce any of these laws.
I dare say by putting up a sign, and a collection box would be enough to put the fright into most people.
I'd like to see walkers and cyclists camp for free.
I remember at Northcliffe in WA, I saw a sign saying it was a $1000 fine for free camping in the Shire of Manjimup.
I actually had stayed at a YHA, a Warmshower and paid in a camp ground while I was in the area without knowing about the fine.
I had free camp the three nights before I arrived into Pemberton. You often see no camping in coastal shires but that was the first time I saw one for an inland council
Rather than thinking of these 'caretakers' making 'qualified ranger' redundant I'd say they free up a ranger for real ranger duties. they cost less (some are 'free' - only requiring a yearly parks pass), some remain onsite - 24hour care! Rangers usually stay off site and only call around morning and night to collect fees. So in some places the 'volunteer caretakers' are better than the normal ranger.
Any camp ground person should not be used as a fire fighter - they will be busy getting campers out! Yes, they should have first aid training (remote area). And they should have local knowledge, anger management skills etc. Some do have these kind of skills, some don't. If they were not there you'd still not have that help so even an unqualified caretaker is better than nothing.
I neither desire nor need "caretaking". I'd just be very happy with a basic campsite, with maybe a clean creek nearby or a tank for some water. I'm quite happy to take my own care and precautions regarding fire risks etc.
$13 (pay by mobile phone booking) for something that has long been 'as of right' and a part of bush culture, is really a step too far. Out at Native Dog Flat the campsite is not becoming overcrowded. Beach sites on the Great Ocean Road may be another thing - so price them differently. But I don't believe Parks Victoria will have the manpower available to police this campsite pricing
So, have just returned from a few parks in the SW to find many have introduced entrance fees. They're not supposed to be parking fees but it seemed that way.
How can they charge $12 for a vehicle for up to 12 persons while someone in his own car pays the same $12?
This fee does NOT include camping fee. Thats extra and many of the dirt roads were in deplorable condition.
Its obviously wasn't entrance fee for wear and tear.
And many of them only stated the actual fee once you drove the 10-20km as opposed to at the entrance. Had a large sign, with the fees at the entrance, may have deterred people from entering.
If you cycled or walked in, it was free
Castle rock in the Porongorups now also has the same, thanks to a 'skywalk'. A tourist drawcard. All that was missing were the flashing lights.
The parking lot at Stirling Ranges has an entrance fee.
Mandalay Beach near Walpole has an entrance fee.
Fitzgerald Park has an entrance fee.
The list goes on.
If you owned a 4X4 you could actually drive the more secluded dirt tracks to avoid the fees. This struck me as odd as the parks were targeting the easy 2 wheel drive prey.
The exercise seemed another great way to drive more tourists overseas. It wouldn't be so bad if someone was actually employed taking in the fees.
We Australians have now succumbed to being informed by a simple sign to pay, and we do.
Cheaper to go to Bali and anyhow wonder how infringements of these new laws will be policed.
Someone told me a lot of the grey nomads have given up towing caravans due to the costs at caravan parks, running costs and the like.
Cheaper to stay at a motel in some cases.
Oddly enough, the very popular Greens pool and Elephant rocks in Denmark and the Blowholes area near Albany are still free.
These are the major drawcard and the shires may have realised, if they charged an entrance fee, tourist numbers might drop.
Mind you the popular Glocester tree in Pemberton does charge just to look at the tree, even if you don't want to climb it and just sit at a table for lunch. Cyclists included
What is the penalty if you don't pay...?
When I was travelling west through WA a few of the places I stayed had the "honesty boxes"...I paid once or twice if I had the correct change but never saw a ranger once...
I saw the fees today. I nearly choked. http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/630642/Fee-schedule.pdf
A few things to bear in mind:
1. Entry fees are not camping fees. These are applied on top of any entry charge.
2. In Victoria only a fairly limited number of the more popular National Parks have entry fees. It may be different in NSW but I do know that Snowy Mts NP, Kinchega NP, Tweed Range NP, and Mootwingee NP had no entry fees when I visited them.
3. These camping charges are being applied to all sorts of sites, many of which have NO facilities, and that get generally quite limited use. The proposed extension is to apply similar fees to all public lands.
3. National Parks are for people, paid in large measure out of our taxes. This is the best principle to ensure fair allocation of resources and enable all socio-economic groups to have access to our national parks.
For solo cycle-tourist, seeking to camp at a mid-level location like Banksia Bluff at Cape Conran, the charge is $19.80 per night, PLUS booking fee of $10. So $30 to camp at a fairly basic camping site with showers, toilets and maybe a picnic shelter. Their goal is to price the sites comparable to market rates, but even in this type of scenario they are going well over the market feee likely in a commercial caravan park. In Gippsland they are going to charge to camp at Dock Inlet - a very out of the way coastal location with zero faciliteis at all - not even 'campsites'. It is a true bush-camp, and now the charge will be $13 for up to 6, or $6.50 per person. But where is the 'commercial' competition that this site competes with?
We need to make it very clear to caravan park owners and operators that we will not be using their facilities, they can go suck eggs.
I thought the thread was about the Vic Gummint parks, not commercial caravan park operators?
The lobbying for these fee charges has come from private caravan park and resort operators who seem have the view that people are cheating them by going and camping in the national parks to avoid having to pay the higher fees of private caravan parks. Thus the 'market forces' ideology behind it all - bump up the fees in the national parks to make them "competitive" ( ) with private operators'. There are so many flaws in this ideology it should have been shot out of the sky ages ago, but our gubmint nutters are ramming it at us.
The can lobby all they like but the locals have better things to do than collect the money. If you feel like paying then by all means pay. But if you keep a low profile and do the right thing otherwise (especially wrt fire and rubbish) then you probably will be left alone.
Ours is not to reason why...merely to point and giggle
This issue affects myself and many of my friends who go out rock climbing and bushwalking. Submissions were called for but I suspect it was all just box ticking as the plan was already thoroughly formed and they went ahead with it all.
The whole system is geared up for families camping. You pay $30 or so for 'sites' that fit 4-6 people. This is not an excessive charge on its own. But throw in a booking fee and if there is only 1 or two of you it becomes exorbitant.
Furthermore you booking needs to be done on the net in advance which hardly works for the typically road tripper traveller, cycler tourer or rockclimber.
Incidentally the climbing community managed to negotiate a special deal for the Mt Arapiles campground. $5 per person/per night with no booking fee. That rate is entirely reasonable. But it is a little absurd that similar common sense wasn't applied elsewhere. Lake Elizabeth in the Otways went from $0 for pitching a tent to $34. (Apparent they had to spend significant money just to label the camp sites in the bush setting.)
Yes, I realise this. With Nap-time's cut-backs to public sector staff, Parks Vic are hardly going to have enough rangers to look after basic park needs, let alone running around to every bush camp to check for fee payment. I'm not worried and won't be paying if there's no payment facility or no services.
Say What !!
This is a site we occasionally visit for a short tour as it has a remote feel but is close to the cycle-friendly town of Forrest. We camped there last Australia Day weekend for a night and now it would cost us $37.80 plus $10 booking fee. The f^%*&^! Bet the locals are going to be rather !! BAN ME NOW FOR SWEARING !! off about that charge. BTW the campsite improvements were all done at least 18 months ago.
And they have a basic fee charge for Aire Crossing...... but they have closed the campsite . We've been there a few times since the crappy, muddy campground was closed and tucked in under the sequoias - beautiful camp
Roll on November!!
PV are largely unaffected by budget cuts at a local level since it's very difficult to cut budget when there's sod all budget to begin with...some significant parks in the State have operational budgets measured only in the tens of thousands per annum. Doesn't buy much in terms of facilities, trails and the like. And since the fees don't go back to the park they were collected from...why would the locals go out of their way to collect them?
Ours is not to reason why...merely to point and giggle
First we had doctor do nothing Ted now we've got the vet who wouldn't know which way is up...........they are clueless nongs. I suppose we're not meant to get political but I'm not, I'm just saying I'm ashamed to say I voted for these clods.
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